Professor Roger Kemp, a University Professorial Fellow at Lancaster, has been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours for his services to engineering.
Professor Kemp has worked at the University since 2003, lecturing on energy systems and safety engineering.
He said that on receiving the accolade: “I had conflicting reactions – one was that I should accept it because it would be good for my CV, the University and, to some extent, the engineering profession.”
“The other that my natural tendencies are left-wing and republican and I have reservations about an honours systems that often seems tilted towards rewarding political spin doctors.”
“After about 2 minutes, the former won.”
He had an extensive career in industry before joining the University: starting by designing control systems for steel works and progressing into large railway projects including acting as engineering manager for the Docklands Light Railway initial system.
“I left manufacturing industry in 2003” he explained, “and, more by chance than a career plan, joined the University.”
“I have enjoyed working with students in Engineering Department and LEC and have been involved in studies on energy and transport policy with government departments, the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Royal Academy of Engineering.”
The highlight of his career, he describes: “was the time I spent as Directeur du Projet for the consortium that designed and built the Eurostar trains for the Channel Tunnel. It was a huge project – more than £1bn – and involved coordinating more than a dozen factories in three countries. I was based in Paris and dealing with the very different cultures in France and Britain was “challenging”.”
“The day the Queen, the Prime Minister and any number of dignitaries took the train to the opening of the Tunnel was about the most stressful of my working life.”
What’s next for his career? “I turned 70 just before Christmas so perhaps should be thinking of retirement before long, but that can wait a year or two.”
Notable Lancaster University Honours
2001: Margaret Gardner (Personal Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor) awarded an MBE for services to higher education
2003: Dr Michael Foley (Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Biological Sciences) awarded an MBE for services to sport
2006: Marion McClintock (Academic Registrar) awarded an MBE for services to higher education
2008: Professor Sylvia Walby (sociology department) awarded an OBE for services to Equal Opportunities and to Diversity
2011: Professor Bill Davies (Director of the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture) awarded a CBE for services to science
Professor Sue Cox (Dean of Lancaster University Management School) awarded an OBE for services to social sciences
2012: Professor Rachel Cooper (Chair of the Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts) awarded an OBE for services to education
2013: Professor Linda Woodhead (Professor of the Sociology of Religion) awarded an MBE for services to higher education
2014: Cary Cooper (Distinguished Professor of Organisational Psychology) knighted for services to social science
Professor Anne Garden (Lancaster Medical School) awarded an MBE for services to Medical Education